What To Expect If You've Never Called A Suicide Hotline
Who Are The People Answering The Phone ?
Imperfect humans who really want to help you
Many of them are volunteers
They may have different experiences with depression
some may have depressive family members
some may have had a previous family suicide
some may have no personal experience but just want to help
Education and training levels will differ
some may be training to become a doctor or other professional in the field
many or most will have had special training or certification
All of them are there because they really don't want you to commit suicide
They are there to listen
To help you talk
And perhaps to direct you to treatment in your local area
Don't expect too much and try to be open
They may not always say the exact right thing
Just let them try to help get you through the moment so that you can live another day - so that your cure will be able to save you
Just throw out a line
Can They Really Help You Over the Phone ?
Sometimes it's hard to admit... that we need other people. Sometimes depression & suicidal thoughts contain a component of upset & anger towards the world & the people in it. But the truth is, nothing can really substitute for human contact - we do need people. The truth is, just talking to someone, explaining, sharing, venting, being listened to, can often give us a temporary reprieve. Talking to someone can temporarily change your perspective - Human contact changes the brain chemistry & opens that emotion "pod" of pent up emotions for temporary relief - and it may not be what they say, but just the exchange of emotions like empathy, compassion, & concern. Will they cure us - no. Will they take the pain away? Maybe ease it for a little while. Even if you know you may be upset or suicidal again soon, just give it a try. Even though non-depressive humans won't really know exactly how you feel -- Let them try to help the best they can. Talk to them, let them listen. Most of them are not even getting paid. The only reason they are there is for you. They may not always say the exact right thing, but they are hoping that somehow they can help you make it through a difficult night, to live & fight another day. It doesn't have to be a one time only call. Although it is often the last resort for many, you don't have to be embarrassed to call & it doesn't have to be a big dramatic event If you know you are in trouble or if you really don't know what is wrong -- whether you think it will help you or not, just call anyway. You may not know how it helped until after you are well, your depression is treated and you look back and see that it really did make a difference. It probably won't be just one thing that gets you through this terrible time in your life - It will be lots of little things that really don't seem like help at all. The one time I called a suicide hotline was after I took something to kill myself. I don't know why I even called. It was my second attempt & I was determined to kill myself. But my doctor had given me the number so I called it. I wasn't even upset - I just told the gal that I had taken something to kill myself. She said I should go in and wake my Dad and tell him - if not they would send an ambulance.
Without the Doctor's "will" - his directive to call the number, and the counselor's "will" or influence, I feel sure that I would have just laid down & waited to die like I had done the first time I tried. (However, just as in my previous attempts, the stuff I took would not have killed me anyway, but I would have wondered about damage to my body or brain, making my plight worse than ever.) For a few moments, let someone help carry your pain Someone who is there because they care enough to help a stranger in need Because they know, or they have seen, From someone they know, or somewhere they've been That your life may be in danger and there's nothing they can say, To really make that pain go away.
But they are there for you even so, Because somehow they know,
That somehow, some way, They can help you find the strength to live another day...
Call 1-800-SUICIDE / 1-800-784-2433
Call 1-800-273-TALK / 1-800-273-8255
Call numbers in your state, even if they are outside your city or county.
Some of the 800, 888 or 877 numbers are toll-free in the entire state.
Visit the USA National page of this site for toll free National hotlines.
Call 411 and ask for:
Dial 0 and ask for:
Check the FRONT pages of the phone book for:
hotlines - crisis or suicide
community crisis center
county mental health center
hospital mental health clinic
Or, call 911 and ask for help. Tell them you are in suicidal danger